DG Competition’s cooperation partner in China is the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR). Cooperation between DG Competition and SAMR is based on three documents:
- Memorandum of Understanding on a dialogue in the area of the State Aid Control and the Fair Competition Review signed in 2019. The Memorandum of Understanding provides for the following:
- Exchange of views on developments in State aid control and fair competition review legislation and on their experience in the enforcement of this legislation;
- Exchange of experiences on the enhancement of the operation of the Sides' State aid control and fair competition review authorities;
- Exchange of views with respect to multilateral State aid control and fair competition review initiatives;
- Exchange of experiences on State aid control advocacy including on raising awareness of authorities, companies and the wider public of State aid control and fair competition review.
- Terms of Reference of the EU-China Competition Policy Dialogue signed in 2019.
- Exchange of views on developments in competition law and on their experience in the enforcement of the law;
- Exchange of experiences on the functioning of the Sides' competition authorities;
- Exchange of views with respect to competition related multilateral initiatives;
- Exchange of experiences on competition advocacy including on raising awareness of companies and the wider public of competition policy;
- Exchange of views and experiences regarding technical cooperation between the EU and China in the area of competition policy and;
- Formulation of practical guidance documents to facilitate cooperation with respect to the concrete enforcement of their respective competition.
The Terms of Reference is the basis for two documents offering practical guidance for cooperation on reviewing merger cases and on investigating anti-trust cases.
- EU- China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) agreed in principle on 30 December 2020.
- On procedural fairness, CAI provides that competition proceedings shall be terminated with a formal published decision. Parties shall be informed of the competition concerns or objections. Parties have the right to mount a written defence and that defendants have the right to a legal representative of its choice. Parties shall protect confidential information.
- CAI subsidies provisions apply to both goods and services. CAI provides transparency in certain services sectors and thereby fills an important gap in the WTO rulebook, which applies only to goods. The transparency concerns: objective, legal basis, form, amount, recipients. The consultation provision apply to subsidies to both goods and services sectors.
Historic overview over DG Competition’s cooperation with China
The 2001 EU-China Summit earmarked competition policy as one of the areas where the EU-China dialogue should be intensified.
As a result, on 24 November 2003 agreement was reached on the creation of an EU-China Competition Policy Dialogue. The following year on 6 May 2004 the Directorate General for Competition of the European Commission and the Ministry of Commerce of China (MOFCOM) signed the Terms of Reference of the EU-China Competition Policy Dialogue. The Policy Dialogue is a permanent mechanism for consultation and transparency between the EU and China in the competition field as well as the formal framework for the EU's technical cooperation with China which is carried out through the EU-China Competition Cooperation.
Following the entry into force of the Anti-Monopoly Law in China on 1 August 2008 and the designation of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and the State Administration of Industry and Commerce (SAIC) as enforcement authorities alongside MOFCOM, on 20 September 2012 DG Competition also signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the area of Anti-Monopoly Law with the NDRC and SAIC. The Memorandum of Understanding creates a dedicated framework to strengthen cooperation and coordination between DG Competition and NDRC and SAIC concerning legislation, enforcement and technical cooperation regarding cartels, other restrictive agreements and abuse of dominant market positions.
Since the entry into force of the anti-Monopoly Law, DG Competition has developed its case cooperation which MOFCOM, which is in charge of merger review in China. In a desire to further enhance merger review cooperation DG Competition and MOFCOM developed a cooperation framework, signed in October 2015, which establishes best practices to strengthen cooperation and coordination between the EU and China on reviewing mergers, allowing both sides to share information and discuss timetables at key stages of investigations, to increase their efficiency.
In June 2016; China’s State Council moved to reinforce and expand the role of competition policy in China through the adoption of a Fair Competition Review System, which aims at preventing public policies from distorting and restricting competition while maintaining fair market competition and promoting a unified market. As mentioned in the 2017 EU-China Summit statement, the adoption of the Fair Competition Review System led to the NDRC agreeing to establish a new separate dialogue in the area of the State aid control regime and the Fair Competition Review System.
The State Council of the Peoples’ Republic of China decided on 13 March 2018 to establish the State Administration for Market Regulation and transferred all powers to enforce the Anti-Monopoly Law and the Fair Competition Review System to this new Ministry. DG Competition will continue to build its good cooperation with the State Administration for Market Regulation as it had built in the past with Mofcom, NDRC and SAIC.